(Part 1 written on 12th January 2009; Part 2 written on 22nd October 2009)

Before I forget,
Let me scribble down
The thoughts I wish to express –
Record for my own self
As a memory of this moment of my life.

Before I move on,
Let me remember the feeling
Of being submerged in the biggest part of my planet;
Wave after wave,
Gentle and rough,
Smoothly-contoured and wildly spread;
Jumping into,
Facing head on,
And turning my back;
Being moved by the never-ending forces of push and pull,
So vastly spread in oceans off every land mass in existence.

Shall I remember the outrage and mourning?
Of hundreds being massacred,
Each and every day
By an enemy whose heart is black,
Forever stained by the crimes they’ve committed against the innocent,
The innocent they wish to wipe out,
All for a small worldly gain.

Yet their arrogance in the earth
Will earn them all they deserve in Eternity,
If only they remembered –
If only they believed.

Shall I recall?
The memory of grandparents passed;
Layed to rest under lumps of soil,
Never to speak again in this world,
Yet their legacies live on
Through children now grown up,
With new generations following the established cycle of life:
From conception to birth,
Childhood to marriage,
Children to death,
And so it begins again.

Shall I spare a moment?
In thought of the seed I’ve planted,
The precious little one who now grows each day
In the womb of his/her first university;
The mother-to-be,
Whose pain I’ve not understood,
Whose frustration I can only hear about – but never feel.

Shall I stop to think?
Of the aspirations we have for our little bean,
How much we hope (s)he will live out the dreams we never could,
Contribute to this world the things we were not strong enough to;
For it seems our destiny was not to fulfill these bold ambitions –
But to lay the foundations for the next generation,
Who would start their journey much earlier than we,
And exhibit the nobility of character we ourselves could not attain.

– – –

Now that I’m back,
Let me continue
this hodgepodge of themes and thoughts,
and things that sit inside,
stifled by the busy-ness of life,
never finding their way into written expression.

Let me marvel
At the growing love that manifests itself before my very heart,
spending precious moments with the little soul that has been entrusted to my care.

Let me imagine
All that I want to do for her,
help her with,
protect her from,
teach and mould her to be.

Let me enjoy
the moments of the evening where she lays sprawled out on me,
tired from her day of playing, eating, fussing, and sleeping.

Let me express
my amazement at this miniature being,
who is now so utterly dependent on us,
yet in a few years
she’ll be doing her own thing,
perhaps – in innocence – making much mischief,
and needing near-constant supervision.

But before then,
can I stop to think of my own ambitions?
My own desire to use my abilities and passions
in ways that benefit others as well as myself.

Will I ever have the time?
To let loose that which is in me,
for a prolonged period,
Seeing my potential manifest before my eyes:
in words,
in images,
in conveyance of goodness from the depths of my being,
to the malleable hearts of those in search of direction.

Yet the guidance comes not from me,
but merely through me;
And maybe – just maybe –
someday I’ll find a larger stage to put forward amalgamations of
creativity, and
while still being cautious of the pride that could creep in and corrupt my intention,
thereby destroying my reward.

Before the thoughts run dry
Let me end here,
returning to my ‘normal’ life
of day to day, 7 to 4, routine action to routine action,
broken up by weekends.

But hoping to see – more constantly – the bigger picture:
that this life is not just an aimless Matrix,
but rather a means to a bright future –
which requires striving in the present,
a long wait until the end,
by God’s mercy,
an everlasting Peace as the final destination.


Do what you love…love what you do

When I was very young, from what I remember, I used to love to write. Creative writing was a passion in my earliest school years. I remember silly stories about a Monster Party where the partygoers played “Pass the person,” and a Time Machine story where victorious German soldiers (during World War 2) used spears in their battle.

My teachers would encourage me to write at home, as an extra-curricular activity. But I don’t think I ever did.

Although I loved to write at that age (roughly seven years old), I didn’t see it as a viable career choice. I worried about writers’ block. I decided, way back then, that I couldn’t base a career on creativity – because there was no guarantee that the stories and words would come. I couldn’t take creativity for granted – because this was my future livelihood on the line.

I grew up, going through junior school, thoroughly enjoying reading the stories of others – because fiction opened my mind to other worlds, and excited my imagination beyond the ordinary confines of normal life. As time passed, my teenage years saw this reading disappear altogether; and my writing, which was done only for schoolwork, became relatively dull and uninspired. There was so much else that took my attention in those years, and the never-ending slew of futile occupations that consumed my time ensured that my creativity remained subdued – a thing forgotten.

This stage continued into university, until I reached the turning point in my life: a series of events that brought my spirit back to life – woke me up and inspired in me perhaps the greatest change I’ll ever encounter. And from that point on, the introspective side of me began its journey to a path of self-expression – a state of being where I was free to let loose what I held inside, without fearing my innermost thoughts being discovered by prying eyes.

Although this state of being was in the works for some time, it was an online acquaintance that first encouraged me to express myself in writing. And, over time, I began to do that, and the feelings, thoughts, dreams, and fears therapeutically poured out of me into what seemed* like well-crafted poems and pieces that reflected who I was, who I wanted to be, and what was most important to me.

(*I say “seemed” because the words and structures just came across as if they were well thought out. But, in reality, I didn’t plan much at all. I favoured the free-flow method: where I would just write as it came – without giving much thought to stopping, thinking, or editing. Natural was best, in my eyes – because I didn’t want my self-expression to be stifled by the left-brain processes which, I thought, would only hamper what I was writing).

In terms of my career, I had, up till that point, been in an IT position that wasn’t really conducive to interesting writing – because it was pretty much business and technical-related. I then moved into another IT role, but this time one that centred around technical writing and communications. Although this role was, again, business and technical-related, it somehow opened up new doors to me – showing me that I could use my writing skill for my career.

It was also in this period that I began blogging, starting this blog in 2006. My blog began with just photos, because I wasn’t confident enough to post my writings yet. But, over time, I became more comfortable, and introduced written pieces to the blog.

For a long while, this blog served as a great comfort to me: a place where I could post my self-expressions (both visual and written), and get feedback and encouragement from those of you who took the time to visit and comment.

With regard to writing, I also branched out into other forms of writing – applying myself to Islamic-related articles. When I finished the communications job, I ventured into the field of volunteering – doing communications work at two Muslim organisations. I enjoyed this work immensely – because I was getting to do what I loved to do (i.e. write), and apply the skills and knowledge I had learned (i.e. communications) – all in the field that was most important to me: Islam. And, of course, when you work in that kind of organisation, even mundane tasks can earn you Divine rewards – if you do it with the right intention.

I’ve continued to work with one of these organisations up to this year, and I’ve been blessed to be part of some great projects over the last few years. At one point, when they were thinking about appointing a full-time staff member, I considered applying – because I would dearly love to do that kind of work as a full-time career.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. And, as I came to see, there aren’t many opportunities for full-time work in that field. At least, not opportunities that pay market-related rates.

It’s a difficult position for Islamic organisations, because they do such great work, and they could probably do so much better – but many of them don’t have the proper support: financially, structurally, and in terms of high-quality professionals that are dedicated to the organisation on a full-time basis.

Many of these organisations struggle to survive; and they just cannot afford to pay the rates that professionals can earn in the corporate or even academic worlds.

So I saw that, if I wanted to work in that field, it would take financial sacrifice. But, being newly-married and newly-financially independent, I didn’t feel it was a sacrifice I could make at that time.

My current job – which I’ve been in for almost two years – makes use of my writing ability, in subjects that are not technical or IT-related (for the most part). Because of this, I enjoy the content of my current work more than any previous jobs.

Yet, I still sometimes find myself frustrated; believing wholeheartedly that I could perform so much better if I were writing about the things that were most important to me. I strongly believe that, if I were given the opportunity to use my abilities for subject matters that resonate strongly within me, I could, insha-Allah, be so much more productive, and hopefully produce work that could be beneficial to those who read / see it (not that my current work is not beneficial…because it hopefully is).

Undoubtedly, one field that this can be achieved in is media – and specifically, Islamic media. However, although I’ve had a few pieces published in printed publications over the last few years, my most recent attempts to break into this field have failed.

So, then, there’s always the Internet. And, of course, blogging – because blogging is really the ultimate personal medium: it’s a platform where you can write about what’s most important to you; hopefully have a positive influence on people; and receive feedback from the readers.

Lately, I’ve been thinking again about my career – wondering if I’ll ever get to do what I love doing as a full-time, decently-paid job. (Note that the financial-sacrifice thing is even less realistic at this point – because I now have a wife and baby to support.)

Not many people get to do what they love as a career. But for those that do – you can see the passion in them, and you can feel the energy that they have in carrying out a ‘job’ which they do out of love – and not just for the money.

Going forward, I wonder what the future holds for me in terms of getting to that career goal. I know I could probably do with some further studies, because:

  1. I lack journalistic training (which is actually fine by me, because I don’t want to be a journalist. I’ve heard that it’s a field I would not enjoy).
  2. I don’t have formal communications training (despite almost 2 years in a largely communications-based role).
  3. Other than my professional training, I haven’t taken any further courses in any kind of writing – be it feature writing, creative writing, or anything else.

Other than that, opportunity is the big issue. Part-time freelancing doesn’t seem like an option right now, because I just don’t have the time for other projects. I don’t even have time to write the things I want to write.

But I do want to try to keep writing – so that that part of me remains active, and hopefully sticks around for the time when, insha-Allah, a proper, full-time opportunity presents itself.

Where that opportunity would come from, I don’t know. I guess the key is to find a way that I can add value to an organisation – an organisation that does the kind of work I want to be involved in; an organisation where I can have the platform to advance their work as well as my own ambitions.

Anyway, like the title of the post says: “Do what you love…love what you do.” That, really, is my ultimate career ambition.

I just wanted to share that here. Any feedback, ideas, or offers would be much appreciated.

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